Sycamore fishery open match Rowans canal

Rowans canal peg 28 , October 25th


After last week’s struggle at Partridge lakes i decided to let the fishing there settle down a bit which would hopefully be soon and choose to go to Sycamore fishery instead i hadn’t been back there since my mini meltdown after an evening match around three months ago but felt it was the right time for a return , with the extra hour in bed i was up mega earlier and as per usual i was the first to arrive but at least this gave me chance to have a walk round the match canals to see if anything had changed i was glad to see that the path around the canals had been done as it can get quite waterlogged during the autumn months , plus i also wanted to check where the fish was showing themselves i noticed that there was some occasional bubbling coming up from the 3ft deep lines on either channel especially on the thirty numbered pegs which is usually a good area to be in any way .

On getting back to the cabin i booked on all the usual faces were in attendance and it soon came round to draw time , i was a bit disappointed with the turnout as only twelve had turned up so they put us all on Rowan canal which was fishing the best  but a match is a match and as it turned out i was last to pick with peg 28 Rowan sticking to my mitt not the best area to be in but i should be able to catch a few if im lucky . The weather leading up to today’s match was a bit indifferent to say the least with plenty of rain and cold overnight temps even a touch of ground frost for the first time this year it was also calm and bright not your ideal conditions , yesterdays match here was won with just fifty pounds so i expected a similar weight to be needed today which with the stamp of fish in here you wouldn’t need a great deal and every bite matters .


I had decided to try a new method today which was dobbing because this seems to be the best time of year to give it a whirl and to be honest it isn’t something that i had even given much thought in the past but if it can pick you up a few extra fish then every little helps i felt that here would be an ideal place to start with the big carp hugging the far-bank reeds .

Dobbing rig , plumbed up along the far-bank and found an average depth of around 2.5ft so i set my rig to start at 2ft which would be six-inch of the deck i also had quite a long lash between pole + float this would enable me to keep the pole tip out-of-the-way in the clear shallow water ,float was a 4×10 malman roob which had two number 11 stotz down the rig and I’m not to sure this was the right float to use a heavier one might have been better my main line was a more robust 0.14 garbo this would allow for a slower fall of the hook bait and i had a 4 inch 0.12 hook length which had a size 16 matrix bagger hook attached .

Pellet rig set at three-foot which was where i had earlier seen the fish bubbling , i used a 4×12 malman roob float which had a spread bulk above the short 4 inch hook length line was the usual 0.12 garbo and main line was 0.14 garbo .

Channel maggot rig , i was surprised to find under five foot as the deepest part of the peg which was a good bit shallower than the other side so i wasn’t too sure that it would work today and i used a RW slim float the shotting pattern was a bulk with two droppers my main line was 014 garbo with a 012 garbo six-inch hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached .

Elastic on all rigs was my orange size ten matrix hollow which is ideal for this time of year .

Bait for the day was the usual ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint of micros

Small tub of 4mm pellets

One slice of steamed and rolled bread cut into four pieces .

As the all in sounded i put a piece of punched bread on my hook and pushed my rig out towards the right of my swim where there was a nice patch of overhanging reeds the ideal place i thought to get me a fish or two , i lowered my rig in a gap between them and after about five minutes i had my first bite which took me a bit by surprise because there was no signs of any fish being present before it buried of course i missed it thought . I re baited the hook then shipped back out to the same place this time i was a bit more on the ball as it soon flew under and my first fish dobbing was a mirror carp nearly 5lb which was a good start , it took me a bit longer to get my next fish which was an f1 about a pound this took the hook bait just as i was lifting the rig and at first i thought it was foul hooked but the hook was right in the middle of the top lip , i then had a spell of missed bites which began doing my head in as no matter what i did i couldn’t hit them and after moving a bit further in front of me i then managed another carp which was similar size to the other one .

After an hour i had over 10lb in the net which was the start to the match i wanted as those anglers within eye shot seemed to be struggling and i know decided to target my peg with the more usual tactics starting with my 3ft pellet line i planned on feeding this swim by tapping in some micros rather than my usual dump of bait because i didn’t want to over feed in the cold conditions , after working my rig and tapping some micros in every couple of minutes i was still bite less so i decided to feed a bit heavier by filling a small cad pot full of micros then lowering my rig in over the top then keeping it really still this is a tactic that has worked well for me on other waters but this also failed to work which was a bit puzzling , I set up another line to my right in the same depth before starting again i began with the same feeding regime but yet again i was still bite less no matter what i tried and before i knew it over an hour had passed without me adding to my net .

All the time i had thrown a dozen maggots on to my channel swim at six meters so with nothing else working for me i had no option other than to go on it a bit earlier than i would have liked , first drop on it and my float had only just settled before it dipped under with a 10 oz f1 hitting the net which was a bit more promising i missed my next bite but by working out how to lay my rig in as the fish wanted i managed a little run of fish for half an hour but i then started foul hooking or bumping them off and this must have disrupted the shoal because they seemed to drift off , as i had caught a few fish on maggot down the track i decided to re-try my far-bank 3ft line with the same bait i altered my shotting pattern for a more staggered bulk and only trickled the maggots in but yet again i struggled to get a bite on either of my swims across which was strange as i was catching at 2ft when dobbing with bread .

I had noticed a couple of people on the other bank catching a few carp along the near shelf and it’s always worth keeping an eye on how your fellow anglers are getting on , i decided to follow suit and plumbed up a line on either side of me using top 2 plus 2 after a couple of feeds with maggots i managed a solitary carp about 3lb on my left hand swim before another long period of inactivity it seemed there was a lack of fish down this part of the canal , I had continued to feed my track line and i hopped that the f1s had settled back on it but they hadn’t as all i could catch were small chub not a good sign .

As we was fast approaching the last hour of the match and with me being well out of contention for a framing position i decided to spend the remaining minutes back dobbing bread because this was my only line which had produced a prolonged run of bites and as i hadn’t done a great deal of it i could do with the practise , yet again i started at 14m to my right four-inch off the deck i had another decent carp virtually straight away and just maybe if i could get another five i had an outside chance of getting in the money because they seemed to be a decent stamp using this tactic . By changing to two pieces of punch on the hook and leaving more bristle showing i slowly began to add some fish to my net i really had to work at it though altering depths before trying every little nook and cranny , with ten minutes left i felt that i needed a couple more fish but unfortunately i lost another big carp but i did manage one right on the whistle and with only 36lb on the clicker i was sure that i hadn’t done enough .

Hind sight is a lovely thing though because i reckon if i had stayed dobbing all match i would have caught enough to frame because low 50lb nets got second +third with 70lb winning and my net went just under 40lb which was a bit more than i had thought , it was still puzzling why my pellet lines didn’t really kick of today as they failed to produce a solitary bite and i felt that the depth of my channel swim might have been the reason why the fish didn’t want to settle but i couldn’t be certain . I have decided to fish the big open at Weston pools next Sunday its been awhile since my last visit and I’m quite looking forward to it just hope the weather isn’t to bad .



Sycamore fisheries , Evening open match

July 8th , peg 37 Rowans canal

Rowans canal

Rowans canal

Well it soon came round to Weds again and that meant only one thing another try at the Sycamore fisheries evening match i was especially eager to go after last weeks bit of a nightmare with foul hookers which i had given some thought to all week with me not getting on the bank at the weekend and i had hopefully come up with a plan that would enable me to solve it ( more about that later ) The weather leading up to today had seen a drop in temperature plus constant rain although it was forecast to stop in the evening and that it did just in time for me to start packing the car although it was replaced by a rather strong gusty wind which could make fishing long a bit problematic .

On arrival at the fishery and you guessed it i was first there but at least it would give me chance to have a look at the match canals and see just how bad the wind would be in fact it was a strange kind of breeze blowing in a circular motion but i had a feeling that if it got any stronger it would be towards David’s pool , as i was walking round the canals i noticed the water levels had increased slightly and after talking to Phil the owner he has said the leak seemed to have thankfully subsided which was obviously a good sign also he had strimmed away some of the near side margin rushes and as i had only seen a couple other anglers doing the same as me ( this should give me a bit of an edge )


So with a couple of pegs in mind which had a nice margin to fish i went to pay then pick a number that would put me in line to choose a peg ( no surprise that i had second choice ) my first option was 34 Rowans which also won last weeks match this went straight away so i settled on 37 Rowans only one away from last week but it had a lot better margin , on arriving at my home for the next few hours i originally set up the full extension of my pole intending to fish across but with the wind strengthening i decided against it choosing to just target ;

Margin top kit to my right , after plumbing up i found twenty inch depth as tight to the bank as i could manage and here i will feed ground-bait with a hard 8mm pellet on the hook . My rig consisted of an 0.3 Matrix series three float with Matrix power micron 014 main line which had an 012 garbo hook length and a size 16 Matrix rigger hook with a bait band attached .

Margin top three to my left where i had found a nice flat spot at the side of some rushes which was just over 2ft deep , this will enable me to see which margin and feed approach would work the best as i was a bit unsure of the depth that the carp could be settled in due to the recent cold rain going in and i would be cupping in 4mm hard pellets on this line , i decided to use a My rig consisted of an 0.3 Matrix series three float with Matrix power micron 014 main line which had an 012 garbo hook length and a size 16 Matrix rigger hook with a bait band attached .

Bottom of near slope on the top three-line and i found a nice hard spot slightly up the shelf at around 4ft deep i would have normally just used my top kit but with the lack of fish showing shallow i expected the carp to be feeding in the slightly deeper water and i choose to put in 4mm pellets on this line through a cupping kit rather than throwing or using a kinder pot i hoped this would help to keep them on the deck , i used a 4×14 Malman Roob float with Matrix power micron 014 main line which had an 012 garbo hook length and a size 16 Matrix rigger hook with a bait band attached .

My bait for the evening match was going to be ;

3 pints of ground-bait

3 pints soaked 4mm pellets

Tub mixed hard pellets for the hook

I was just about ready for the 545 start and as the all in sounded my first line of attack would be on the right hand margin hoping to sneak a few quick fish so i feed a cup of ground-bait before dropping my rig among it and it didn’t take long before i began getting indications my first fish was a near 2lb mirror carp in fact i managed eight of these in the first hour i topped up with another cup after every couple of fish being careful not to get too many of them in my swim at once which would make them difficult to catch ,i was well on my way to the thirty fish target that i had set myself which i felt would be good enough to get a framing place . Unsurprisingly the swim started to slow down so rather than empty it i swapped to my left hand margin where i had thrown a dozen 4mm pellets every ten minutes from the beginning of the match strangely on this line i managed plenty of bites and fish but mainly hand sized 8oz crucians or slightly bigger tench with the odd carp in between , i kept swapping between my two margin lines but i kept getting more and more pre-occupied with the carp on my right hand ground-bait swim and not really putting anything in the net ( think i was a bit too eager with the bait )

I decided to let this line settle and went onto my top three swim which i had kept topped up with pellets through a cupping kit every twenty minutes and as we was two hours into the match i expected a response straight away which is what i got with five big f1s+carp in a twenty-minute burst , towards the last forty minutes i worked out that i could catch a quick carp on my right hand margin before feeding then letting it settle for a while , on the top three-line i had begun kinder potting in pellets which had brought the fish up off the deck ( making them harder to catch ) by shallowing up a touch so i was fishing six-inch off the deck got me catching again although not as quickly as at the start .

When the all out sounded i felt i had done ok catching thirty f1s+carp plus a dozen crucians and tench it was a little short of my target off 35 but i might be in chance of a framing place if i was lucky , the scales soon arrived as i was the first to weigh in so it was the moment of truth and my two nets totaled 58lb which is what i thought that i had ( but felt not enough ) i followed the scales round and was still in front until we reached peg 25 who had 130lb maybe more because both of his nets bottomed out the scales and that was some weight to catch in under four hours all caught on corn in his margin , both David’s pool and Silver birch did not produce any weights over fifty pounds although most had caught over 35lb this meant that i had finished second overall but a long way behind the winner in fact the three pegs that i made a mental note of when walking round at the start filled the framing positions .

I enjoyed the match tonite feeling that i had learned a great deal as i have not fished the venue a lot so far this year and will hopefully be back next Weds where i might go a place better , before that i am going tp Partridge lakes on Sat to contest the open which should be fun because i haven’t been since i struggled from a good peg in the fisho qualifier .

Sycamore fishery evening match

July 1st , peg 38 Rowans canal


With the weather during the week being really hot and stuffy i decided to have another try at the mid-week open at Sycamore fishery but this time i would be using my more normal approach for the venue and i hoped that this would get me back on track here , after getting to the fishery extremely early last week i decided to set off a little later but this time i got stuck in the rush hour traffic and it’s a fine line between them both as i got to the complex at 430 just before the draw when i arrived there wasn’t that many anglers knocking about and as it turned out there was just twenty of us contesting the open match this i put down to the forecast thunder storms that was due to hit us at 8 oclock .


After paying my money then picking my number which was 23 as it’s a rover this gave me a middle position in the draw and as the names were shouted out one by one all the better pegs went with most choosing to go towards the bottom wind ward end of the canals and i decided to sit on peg 38 which is an area that i have had a lot of success it also thankfully allowed me a bit of room unlike last week when i was rather hemmed in . On arriving at my home for the next few hours the water level seemed even lower than on my previous match and i noticed lots of fish showing up in the water about two-thirds across , as i mentioned earlier i planned on keeping things really simple deciding to set up just the two rigs although these would allow me plenty of options ;

Mud bank and shallow at around 18 inch

Far shelf at 11m , top kit at side of the keepnets and margin all of which were between 2.5ft + 3ft

My bait was also very uncomplicated ;

Two pints red and white maggots

One pint of soaked micros

Three pints of f1 dark ground-bait

Small tub of 4mm expanders


When the all in sounded i potted in two big cups full of ground-bait on to my far bank but shipping in and out was a problem as the pole kept sticking to my arm maybe due to the heat or the sun cream i was using im not to sure but it did get more manageable as the day wore on , as usual on matches these days i started on my top kit at 3 ft besides my keep net while my far-bank line settled and i primed my shallow swim . I used pellets here feeding balls of micros with an expander on the hook being careful when lowering my rig in as they fell , it took only a matter of seconds before my float slid under with a chunky 8oz crucian hitting the net and i had twenty of hand sized fish in the first thirty minutes i was a bit surprised not to catch any proper carp there which i needed to catch if i was to frame today .

I had thrown half a dozen maggots every few minutes since the match started at six meters and there was plenty of carp moving about just under the surface so i hoped that i could catch a few fish shallow , i began on my 2ft rig fishing on the drop this produced a few indications but nothing that positive so i began altering depths trying to find the fish but i felt they wasn’t really feeding properly yet becoming a little spooked easily by the pole tip and when my only positive indication resulted in a carp hooked under the chin confirmed it so i decided to leave it for a while longer .

I had fished for about an hour now so i felt it was time to go to the far-bank although shipping in and out was still being a problem with my pole sticking to my arm first drop across over the ground-bait with double maggot on the hook resulted in a crucian then a baby mirror carp and these were becoming a real pain but i kept persevering , finally the carp+f1s turned up and i began putting some weight in the net although my next problem was keeping them on the hook as i lost three nice fish on the bounce with hook pulls a change to a lighter Matrix orange elastic didn’t solve the issue as they were flying all over the place when hooked ( maybe foul hooked ) after a bit of a toddler T tantrum chucking my top kits around as my head had really been done in and i needed a time out to gather my composure .

I decided to leave my far-bank choosing to fish my margin swims i fed the left with maggots and right with ground-bait plus micros , i started on my left and was getting bites almost instantly from crucians but the constant loose feed soon dragged the carp into the swim after catching them for a while they began swirling causing yet more line bites and more foul hookers ( it really wasn’t my day ) although rather than getting wound up i just big potted some maggots then went onto my right hand swim and caught almost instantly again including some nice sized carp . A return to my left hand swim and the big pot of bait had worked its magic getting them back on the deck this time barbel had got in on the act including some that where almost 2ft long they have certainly grown since last year but as you all know they take ages to get and don’t weigh a great deal , by rotating between my margin swims i kept the fish coming right until the last ten minutes when a big carp shot off resulting in a trashed rig with time running out i had to make do with my shallow rig which was half depth of my margin rig but this failed to get me a bite .


The all out soon sounded and in the distance loomed some dark threatening rain clouds it looked like the thunderstorms were on their way luckily i was the first to weigh in and i knew that i wouldn’t be troubling the leaders but at least i had done better than last week with my twenty carp+f1s+barbel plus a shed load of crucians took the scales round to a high 40lb weight and this kept me in the lead for all of two pegs before a 50lb then a 70lb took over , with the storm heading my way i made a quick exit and got home just in time to get soaked to the bone unpacking the car then while eating my tea i watched some natural fireworks through the living room window .Well i learned a great deal today and going back to basics certainly worked for me i just hope that i can get my head round the foul hookers but at least it will give me something to think about over the coming few days , i hope to be doing a double-header at Partridge lakes next weekend in preparation for the Maver match this in a couple of weeks .


Sycamore fisheries , evening open match

June 24th , Rowans canal peg 27

Rowans canal

Rowans canal

With the weather still being pleasant with it being calm , light winds , blue skies so i decided to have my first attempt at an evening match this year although i have had limited success on my previous tries and as it was a 5 o’clock draw i decided to try Sycamore fisheries because it is usually only a fifteen minute drive from my house but in rush hour traffic it might take a little longer , so at 4 o’clock i packed up my car before heading to the venue only twenty minutes later i was there but it would at least give me a chance to have a look at the match canals as i hadn’t been there for a few months and the first thing i noticed was the two aerators blasting away this was understandably a good sign as it’s something that you don’t normally see on here but on a negative sight was the fact both canals were low with water especially on Rowans canal which was down about a foot showing all the far bank mud line .

When i arrived back at the cabin there was a good few people knocking about including some Partridge regulars plus a few from Matrix Leigh tackle and as it turned out their would be thirty anglers contesting the match tonite , the Sycamore evening match is a rover so when you book on you get to pick out a ball which would then indicate your turn to choose a peg and as you all know i usually do well at the draw but even i was a bit surprised when i pulled out ball one giving me a choice of any , as i had walked round earlier i had picked out a couple of areas that i fancied and rightly or wrongly i choose peg 27 which was towards the bottom end of Rowans canal .


On arriving at my peg i had some far-bank cover plus two nice margins too attack and as we only had forty minutes to set up so i hastily began getting my gear together ;


Top kit


My bait today was going against the norm a bit as i decided on using just meat which i felt would work well on here with all the stockies in this canal and obviously it isn’t the best idea trying it for the first time in a match situation but then again it would give me chance to compare it to those anglers around me ;

2 pints 4+6mm cubed meat

1 pint meat mush +hemp

3 pints ground-bait

As i had rushed around getting my gear ready i hadn’t noticed where the other anglers had chosen to fish and now i was waiting for the match to start i saw that four consecutive pegs to my left were taken whereas everyone else was peg one miss one but that’s rover matches for you and i had no doubt this would mean an end to any framing chance for me tonite although i would still be giving it a good shot . As the whistle for the all in sounded i tapped in some cubes of meat on to my top kit line before putting in two big pots in on the far-bank swim where i planned on leaving it for at least forty minutes so the carp could settle on it , back on my top kit with a 6mm cube of meat on the hook i lowered my rig in before dragging it up the slope a little and no sooner had it settled than it dipped under resulting in a little crucian hitting the net , another feed resulted in a little tench then a mini run of three f1s and five fish in the opening fifteen minutes was just the start that i wanted but it soon died on me which was usual for on here , i went on to my far bank swim a bit earlier than i had planned and i did manage the odd carp but it was very hard going this is what i had feared it would be like in this pressured area of the canal .


With two hours of the match remaining and just 10lb in the net i began feeding both my margins plus i decided to set up a new rig for either feeding extremely tight to the mud-bank or by fishing at half depth on my original swim because i had seen a few fish cruising by , this picked up a couple more carp plus the odd little crucian but i didn’t feel that they wanted to settle properly and maybe i had over feed at the start ? With ninety minutes remaining i went on to my right hand margin towards the empty peg this produced plenty of indications but mainly liners and i felt that i had put the swim in too deep a water but i had struggled to find anything shallower especially as you was no longer allowed to garden the peg anymore .


I put in a few big pots of ground-bait this finally got them feeding or it might have just been the time of the day but in the last forty minutes i more than doubled my catch rate managing to catch a further eight f1s+carp the all out came far too soon for my liking and as i knew that i wouldn’t be challenging for a framing position i didn’t bother weighing in but reckoned that i had around 25lb which was probably the best weight on my bank the jury is still out regarding the meat approach so maybe another try is on the cards .

Overall the match was won on Silver birch with 65lb , second was on David’s pool with 59lb and third was 55lb from Rowan’s it was noticeable that lots of barbel where coming out recently so it looked like the aerators had done the trick encouraging them to go on the feed . At the weekend I’m heading back to Tunnel barn farm which is beginning to turn into my favourite match venue i just wished it was a bit closer to home ,first i will be contesting the Saturday open on New pool and then the 100 pegger North vs South match on the Sunday helping raise funds for the England disabled and ladies teams it’s just a shame that all the english angling teams can’t get proper funding from the government .

Sycamore open , Silver birch

April 19th , peg one


After Thursdays match at Partridge lakes where i had a reasonable match but left with plenty things to improve on i decided to have a trip to Sycamore fishery my local F1 water situated in Golborne , after ringing the owner to book on he told me that he expected at least thirty anglers on the open so it might fish hard this didn’t really bother me because my last few wins on here have been when there had been a full lake as i am not really a big weight type of angler more your scratch for bites which is what you usually need to do on here when it is full .

On arriving at the complex even though i knew there was a lot booked on i was still surprised at the amount of cars present and i did my usual thing of driving down to the bottom car-park then having a look at the two match canals for any fish movement which there wasn’t but it had turned rather cold compared to the previous few days sunshine we were also faced with an easterly breeze , when i got back to the cabin there was even more cars present it turned out we had forty anglers fishing two full canals not exactly a fun days fishing ahead although when i pulled out corner peg one on Silver birch ( Another flyer ) out of the draw bag i expected to have a good framing chance from their .


I decided to try something a bit different regarding bait and choose worm+caster instead of my usual pellet approach (wrong choice) as i had plenty of it left over as i had bought some for Partridge lakes open on Thursday where it had worked well but not on Covey five which is where i had drawn , when i got to my peg i had a long reed covered margin which had the cold wind blowing into it and the point of the island a lot for me to attack but it can get a bit confusing so i decided to set up two rigs one at 2ft the other at 1ft this should cover most areas of my peg but on the spur of the moment i also set up a shallow rig as their was a few fish topping near the post .

When the all in sounded i shipped out to six meters along my left hand margin i deposited a kinder pot full of worm+caster i then lowered my rig in among it with an inch segment of worm on the hook i then proceeded to wait and wait and wait some more , after twenty minutes of inactivity i decided on a re-feed even though nothing much was happening anywhere on the canal and after thirty minutes i had my first indication which took me by surprise so i immediately struck at it (still in pellet mode ) of course i missed it and nothing else happened so after a ten minute wait i feed again trying to force the fish to come in the peg this kind of worked because i the lost two foul hooked carp in quick succession not exactly what i was looking for . I then set up a new margin swim at 11 meters but feed just casters this produced a couple of indications nothing positive though ( things weren’t looking good )


Over an hour gone with no fish in the net which was like most anglers around me so a change of swim was in order so i went to the far-bank and tapped in a ball of worm+caster but this failed to produce any indications after thirty minutes , so i figured that with the cold overnight temps the fish must have dropped into the deeper water i got off my box and set up a new rig for fishing on the bottom of the near slope at 5ft this produced a few indications but yet again nothing positive i think the fish were being drawn in by the ground-bait but didn’t want the worm or caster ( took the wrong bait ) with half the match gone and still a big fat blank the cold wind was making me shiver too .

After three hours the sun finally came out which raised the temperature a lot the wind even changed direction this took the scum from out of my margin enabling me to fish tight to the bank so i started a new swim at six meters in one foot of water and tapped in a pot of worm+caster slop then went over the top with an inch segment of worm on the hook , this finally produced a couple of proper bites which i missed by being to eager on the strike so i made an effort to count to three when the float disappeared and this worked because my next bite ripped the elastic out ( finally a fish in the net ) a couple more quickly followed and i hopped that i had finally found a few fish i had a quick burst of five carp beginning to get on level terms with those anglers around me but this swim soon died so i tried setting up another one at 11m and at 4m but after working all these three swims i remained bite less for the last hour which was a bit disappointing because i felt that i only needed two more fish for me to get in the money .


As the all out sounded it was the end of a bad match which was always on the cards with the bigger than average turn out on here today , their was plenty anglers not deciding to weigh in today especially from those pegs down the bottom end of the canal and to be honest i wasn’t going to bother either as i knew i wouldn’t be in the top two but the lad weighing in for third had a similar amount of fish as me so i decided to chance my arm . When the scales came round to me Ste Hart was leading with 18lb from peg 19 and he fished really well to catch that weight picking up a few fish from various parts of his peg , the lad next to me on peg two got second with 16lb and the guy on peg three got third with just 10lb knocking me into forth with just 8lb and as i feared an extra carp or two would have got me into the money .

I am hoping to get out fishing for a few hours after work in the week to try to get back in the swing of catching a few fish as i have my first Fisho qualifier of the year at Moorlands fishery on Saturday some were that i haven’t seen before so i am really looking forward to contesting that match .

Sycamore fishery — Rowans

March 23rd , peg 23 Rowans


After managing to get the day of work as we was having some units fitted i decided to spend a few hours on the bank of Sycamore fishery and reacquaint myself to the f1+stockies in their , i had to stay local because i needed to drop and pick up my little lad from school as it was only a ten minute drive it was the perfect place to go . I arrived at the fishery around 930 as i was the only angler on the complex i had the tricky job of picking the right peg and i decided to go on Rowans because it had been the one in form recently because you can’t learn anything if you ain’t catching .


As the wind and rain was blowing towards Davids pool i settled on peg 23 as this would enable me to use my bait brolly which would protect everything on my side tray from the elements although it was forecast to improve by dinner time , i was only having a short three-hour session i decided to use it to try a few new things out and when i was sorting my fishing gear out i noticed that there was some muddy patches along the far-bank shelf no doubt caused from feeding fish eating the remaining bait from yesterdays match , from previous experience on the venue i figured it would be at the depth of 3ft so i set up a positive+negative rig to cover my options this was something i had only recently started doing and i needed to spend a few hours getting it right .


I had also seen recently that the new trend for f1 fishing was to leave plenty bristle showing about 5mm and also have a longish leader between pole +float so i decided to give that a try but i didn’t want to put to many different things into the equation so i could get a better representation of how the two rigs compared and i choose to keep it simple with the bait with just micro-4mm pellets – expanders plus a few grains of corn being on my side tray . At ten o’clock i was ready to get started i put on my negative rig first and with a 4mm expander on the hook micros in the small cad pot , i shipped out to 12m deposited it in the swim then lowered my hook bait amongst it no sooner had it settled when it shot under and carp number one hit the net a couple more quickly followed but i think i had either overdone it with the feed or not fed enough because i went on to foul hook my next two fish which understandably killed my peg .


In the next hour i set up multiple swims at 3ft tried both my rigs but could only add a couple more carp the drizzle finally started to ease and finally i could see a touch of blue sky , i then had a light bulb moment !!! the last carp that i caught had swam towards me and not left or right , as you all know the f1s+carp usually head back towards their shoal when you hook them so maybe they had dropped further down the slope as the cold rain had gone in . I  replumbed up just six-inch deeper this also reduced the line between pole+float and i also began feeding every five minutes to try to make something happen , after a while my float slowly slid under this time a crucian hit the net and i started on a little run of them but the bites where only little dinks so i added another stotz to dimple it right down and by doing this it really magnified any little indication .


I don’t know whether it was by dotting the float down , the constant feeding or the better conditions but i suddenly began getting among the fish again and by the end i was getting a fish nearly every few minutes . All too soon the time caught up with me and i had to call it a day with 15 carp+f1s plus half a dozen crucians hitting the bank for about 25lb in just three hours , i feel that i have learned a lot today about rigs and feeding but i need to put a few more hours in before i get to the bottom of it .

I did find today that;

Feeding every five minutes was best

My positive rig produced more bites maybe due to the windy conditions

A dimpled down float showed up bites a lot better

Sitting on one line and working the rig seemed the way to go , rather than chasing them all over your peg .

Sycamore fishery– Rowans canal

March 15th , peg 28


After yesterdays fishing trip to Hall lane where i went to practice for the up and coming super cup match where i caught some big carp , i fancied a change of pace today and decided to go for some f1s so a trip to Sycamore fisheries was in order somewhere that i hadn’t been for a good few months because it was only ten minutes drive down the road i had a later than usual start but of course i still arrived their first . So i decided to have a quick walk around to reacquaint myself to the match canals , my mate had fished Silver birch canal on Weds and said that it had fished quite hard so i didn’t fancy drawing on their especially as the weather hadn’t got any better since then with an easterly wind , cold temps and overnight rain Will spring ever arrive .


When i got back at the cabin i went to book on their was a couple of people knocking about all the usual faces plus a few new ones , when it came to draw time i pulled out my usual flyer or is it i just the fact that i make them look good anyway off i headed to peg 28 Rowans canal and after making my way through the sluch i finally arrived at my home for the day , it was just your run of the mill peg on here 13m wide two far-bank reed beds which had a mud bank in between and the only different thing it had was a bush in between my peg and 27 which was a good area to target in summer but I’m not to sure it will have a bearing on things today so after looking at my peg i decided to fish three areas ;

Bottom near slope at 4ft – 4×12 malman roob float with 012 garbo main line which had a 010 garbo hook length and a size 20 gamma pellet hook .

Channel at 6m – 4×14 malman roob float with 012 garbo main line which had a 010 garbo hook length and a size 18 gamma pellet hook .

Far slope at 3ft – i set up two rigs for this line a 4×10 and a 4×14 malman roob  my main line was 012 garbo which had a 010 garbo hook length and a size 20 gamma pellet hook .


My bait was ;

Micro pellets

4mm expanders normal + white

1 pint red + white maggots

At ten o’clock it was time to get started so i shipped out to my far-bank marker with a few micros in the cad pot and a 4mm expander on the hook , after working my rig for nearly ten minutes my float dipped and f1 number one made its way to the net at nearly 1lb they had certainly packed the weight on since my last visit . For the next hour i was having my own little duel with the f1s and i was winning with six of them coming my way , in the second hour the stockie carp had muscled their way into my swim and although they were bigger they seemed to be coming into the peg in pairs with long waits between bites .


I had been loose feeding maggots on to my near slope since the match started and as it would also allow me to rest the far-bank i decided to give it a try but a bite less twenty minutes wasn’t what i expected because this line has worked really well for me on here in the past , the middle part of the match was a complete non event for me as i didn’t put a single fish in the net during a ninety minute spell despite rotating my swims and even set up a new one at 4ft across in case they had dropped further down the far-bank slope but this didn’t work for me either .


In the later stages of the match the cold easterly wind dropped a little with the sun finally showing itself and this seemed to spark a response in the fish as my seemingly lifeless far-bank began producing a few bites , by swapping between the three swims i had earlier set up across i finally started putting some fish in the net again and i felt that i was clawing my way back into contention of a framing place . The final whistle soon sounded and not for a long time had i not wanted to hear it as an extra thirty minutes would have given me chance to get the couple more fish required for a better finishing position .

I knew that corner peg 31 had caught well and so had the guy opposite me so i would just have to wait and see what the scales had to say  , when they arrived at my peg i needed to beat 33lb to take the lead and although i had only caught twenty fish i felt it could be close but unfortunately my net fell a bit short with the scales showing 29lb , i followed the weighers up the remaining pegs on Rowans canal and it turned out that i had done enough to get second on the canal plus third overall which wasn’t to bad on my first visit here in a while . Although i know that i did a few things wrong or failed to try today and if i fished it again i would have done better but that is why we keep going back because we are always learning especially when targeting those pesky f1s.

This week i will be mainly preparing for Sundays squad practise at Hall lane merlins pool where the first round of the super cup will be taking place and i then have the fun job of picking the team which will get us through . On a lighter note i have just watched the new Des Shipp e magazine which is all about winter_spring f1 fishing on tunnel barn and the fifty minute video is well worth watching because i haven’t seen that much about this subject on the screen although their has been a great deal written about it .